We are now in the middle of the dog days of summer.
The heliacal rising of the dog star Sirius is a signal to those in the Northern Hemisphere that the hot days of summer have arrived.
Finally this southern star can be seen hovering over the horizon just before it is overcome by the light of the rising sun. Below this horizon; the land is dry, the days are long and we’re all starting to feel a little lazy. According to the ancients, it can be a time of bad luck: too much rain, too little rain, thunder, lightening and the dogs are going mad as well. We’re not the only ones who are thirsty!
Our culture seems to have brought us to the point where we figure the only safe thing to do this time of year is to go on vacation. This is not the case for the Gardenkeeper. They say there is no rest for the wicked and this summer I seem to be buried in work. I am finally starting to get to those projects that have been neglected because I was catching up on weeding and pruning.
A word of warning for those parts of your property that are overgrown and undisturbed.
Always check for visible insect and spider activity before and during any work you undertake. It was just yesterday that I came across a yellow jacket nest while I was clearing out bushes next to a shed and got stung on my right hand. Thankfully only once. It’s important to stop long enough to locate the nest so you can move in the right direction, away from it! Today my whole hand is swollen and it’s all I can do to not scratch that itch.
Bad luck. Bad dog day.
The back section of a garden that I work in borders a cemetery.
This garden is deer-proofed by mesh fencing that can require some occasional mending. Last week I noticed that a large branch from a bush in the back corner had fallen down onto the fencing. I’ve been working in this garden for close to a year now and this is the one section that I was a little reluctant to get to, but now there was no more putting it off. It was time to head into the cemetery. I like cemeteries, my first driving lesson was in a cemetery (Don’t hit the gravestones!) but, I’ve never worked in one. Was it disrespectful? I told myself to move slowly and watch where I stepped. Now all I had to do was to get to work.
I made it to the other side and was able to start clearing away the overgrowth and, in the process, uncovered a couple of the graves that seemed to be forgotten. One of the graves was a tiny concrete square that said, “Baby Schall” and was dated to the early 1900’s. That sort of thing can transmit a sadness that can be felt through the years.
This summer might be getting to me. I know that eventually Sirius will no longer make it above the horizon before the sun rises. This cosmical setting will bring the dog days of summer to a close. Just thinking about it makes me feel tired though. I’m not there yet!
I was able to pull myself together and clear off the weeds and brush away the dirt, after all what did I expect to find in a graveyard? I once came here with my husband to visit his grandparents graves but, you mostly see people walking their dogs. Today I came here to work. Others have come here to rest.